"For centuries, theologians, philosophers, and poets have delved into the universe in search of proof of the existence of the devil. It would have sufficed to look into the depths of their own souls." This is some fascinating statement, don't you think? But, I suspect it is not taken from the classic "Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Rather, these are the words of Hieronimus A. Steinback, during the XVII Century, and they are precisely the ones used to open the enormously engrossing "Murder Obsession," an erotic, murder thriller that will keep you glued to your seat until the final credits.
Once we read the aforementioned quote, the film goes to a dramatic scene, in which a killer proceeds to strangle his lady victim. The scene is intense, as the assassin tries really hard to kill the woman. For our surprise, we suddenly hear, "Cut!", and realize that is was only a movie. However, Michael's (the actor, played by Stefano Patrizi) behavior worries his coworkers. Michael then decides to take a break from filming, and plans a trip to visit Glenda, his mother (Anita Strindberg), who lives at the countryside. He takes Deborah, his girlfriend (Silvia Dionisio); Hans Schwartz (Henri Garcin), the director; Shirley (Martine Brochard), the director's assistant; and Beryl (Laura Gemser - yes, "Black Emmanuelle's" Laura Gemser). Once there, they not only meet Michael's mother, but also Oliver (John Richardson), the scary butler. Right from the start, too, we discover that Michael's relationship with his mother is quite strange, yet strong - with an incestuous feel to it --, and that Michael killed his father when he was a child. And, you guessed right, the killings begin again, and it is your job to figure out who is doing it.
"Murder Obsession" (also called "Murder Syndrome), which Italian name is "Follia Omicida," was director Riccardo Freda's last film. It is said that is was Freda who made the first horror Italian thriller ("I Vampiri" - The Devil's Commandment, 1956), so "Murder Obsession" was quite the movie to close his long career. The film is colorful, with many twists and turns, and with plenty nudity, especially from, yes, your guessed again, Miss Gemser. Good stuff, believe me. I wonder what she is doing these days. By the way, while researching Hieronimus A. Steinback, I found out that his quote has also been used in other films. The Blu-ray edition includes a documented booklet about the film and the director, deleted scenes, interviews with some Italian composers and directors, and more. (Italy, 1981, color, 97 min plus additional materials)
Reviewed on June 3, 2012 by Eric Gonzales for RaroVideo.